Manny Marroquin – Music Connection Magazine

OOriginally from Guatemala, recording engineer and 11-time Grammy winner Manny Marroquin fell in love with music when he discovered the drums as a child. Later, he attended Alexander Hamilton High School in LA where he spent countless hours in the school studio. Rather than go to college, Marroquin spent a few months in an engineering program and landed a racer gig at Enterprise Studios. His break-up came when a producer asked him to do a rough mix of some tracks, was suitably impressed, and invited Marroquin to mix the entire record. Since that pivotal day, he has worked with artists such as Kanye West, Phoenix, Alicia Keys and many more.

Like any good mixer, Marroquin knows when and how to massage a piece. But over the years, he’s learned something equally important and perhaps more nuanced: when to do little or nothing. “That’s the million dollar question,” he says, “and that’s what makes [mixers] unique: knowing when to do something and knowing when to leave [a track] only. Some people express themselves through frequencies. It’s mostly instinctual and I don’t think it can be taught. It’s almost like teaching someone good taste. You can show this to people, but it has to come from within. It’s a combination of thousands of key points you’ve learned from the moment you were born.

It is common for records to have multiple producers and as many mixers. Marroquin sees this as a choice that largely depends on the genre and the artist. “We just finished the Paramore record,” he explains. “This band needs a cohesive sound because it’s an album with one producer. But then you get another group or genre and they can have more than one. If there is only one producer, nine times out of ten it will be the same mixer. So it depends a lot on who the producer is. In today’s world, we don’t necessarily listen to as many albums as before, so it becomes less important to have [only] a mixer.

Plugin maker Waves approached Marroquin to create the Manny Marroquin Signature Series bundle. “When I signed on to do it, they wanted something slightly different and easy to use,” he recalls. “My EQ is four band and I believe there are 14 different frequencies in total. Each one is based on a piece of equipment in my room and is modeled to reflect that. For example, my 25k might be an Avalon EQ , 125 hertz could be my Neve and 800 could be my API So it’s a great EQ with all the gear but also the frequencies I tend to go to.

Marroquin recently completed work with Paramore, the 1975, Phoenix and Kendrick Lamar. In fact, the day Music Connection spoke to him, he had just started mixing DJ Khaled’s latest record. He remains in close contact with David Sears, his high school mentor, who is now Vice President, Education for GRAMMY in the Schools. Indeed, they often sit together on panels. Marroquin works almost exclusively at Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood, his seven-room workspace, which he acquired in 2008.


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